#WorldRadioDay : An Ode to Grandma’s Big Black Box, Beloved Radio

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Dear Radio,

They say, we live in a world where change is the only constant. Today, while looking at the date in my calendar and then at you, this is the only statement that I can think of. From being grandma’s ‘big-black-box’ to mom’s teensy pocket-companion, you’ve really come a very long way. Reduced to the size of a mere app in my smartphone though, you’ve still been there. Always.
I remember waking up to my grandma’s ‘religious mornings’ in Gulshan Kumar’s voice every single day, emanating from your speaker. She would often turn your volume up to unbearable limits to deliberately replace the ‘peace of our sleepy mornings’ with ‘Gulshan Kumar’s freshness and spirituality’ in our lives. We hated it. Genuinely. And you, obeying her so studiously, laughed at our face. Congratulations. For each minute of my ‘extra-sleep’ lost, I shall remember you.
I remember my mom not letting me watch my afternoon cartoons in peace because of the Kishore and the Rafi and the Lata Mangeshkar hits that you offered her every single noon. I could turn up the volume of my television for sure, had she not been playing your music during her chores, in the kitchen, right infront of my room, only reiterating, “But this is the only time in the day they play 90’s hits…you can watch your cartoons all day, isn’t it?” I swear, for all my days when you juxtaposed RD Burman’s ‘Monicaaaaaaa…’ with my Shin Chan’s theme song, I shall remember you.
But at those times when almost as if ‘swords were drawn’ with a show of patriotism over the zeal of a complete family sitting around a television set for an India-Pakistan cricket match and the electricity connection went off (oh that feeling!), you were our saviour. That voice radiating from you controlled heartbeats, believe me. For all the damn time you gave us more reasons to yell ‘Indiaaaa…India’ even when we sat in candlelight, eagerly surrounding your slouching self, I shall certainly remember you.

And for those tiresome family trips when I was pushed in the other car with all the oldies who just sat and did nothing as I could ‘easily fit in there because I was the youngest and the tiniest’, thank god, our driver let you be. Amidst that random elderly stuff and extended silences… ‘Mirchi Murga wih Naved’ was absolutely my thing! For protecting me from an early death with boredom and letting me breathe through those hours of deliberate solitude inflicted upon me by my cousins and family, damn! I shall remember you.

I don’t have you as grandma’s ‘black-box’ or mom’s ‘pocket-dictionary-size-ugly-self’. You’re just a 2MB app on my smartphone’s memory. But every night I’m on bed and not sleeping, you’re my companion. Everytime I’m travelling alone in the morning without internet, it’s another of Raunak’s jokes or Naved’s pranks from your channels that I’m smiling at. For making ‘the most inaccessible and forgotten of the masses’ come closer to ‘the most known and the most remembered’ through the ‘Man Ki Baat’ sessions; for making narrated stories come alive with ‘Yadon ka Idiot Box’ in Neelesh Misra’s voice, touching souls better than any other visual depiction; for the long and solitary drives in the obscure without internet that you made rather musical; for everything; for existing- thank you.

They say, we live in a world where change is the only constant. They forget that everything that exists, follows this belief, including this statement. You have changed, for sure. You have been and shall always be in changing shapes and forms and manners. But. You will be. Till the end, I shall remember you.

Love,
Addicted Listener

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